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Announcing the SCTE IP Challenge

By Daniel Howard, CTO and SVP, Engineering of SCTE

As you know, the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) continues to strive to provide new and unique ways to both train and challenge the cable workforce and our members.   Through our Chapters, we have been holding a very successful Olympic-style challenge for field-level employees that includes both hands-on skill assessments and knowledge-based contests, and this continues to be a big hit with our members and the industry.  But one thing I kept hearing in meetings with cable executives, managers and at SCTE chapters was the need for SCTE to provide resources and involvement opportunities for the IP engineers and computer scientists in our workforce who manage an increasingly larger portion of the overall network.

I’m therefore proud and excited to announce the new SCTE IP Challenge that we developed in partnership with Cisco as a response to this need.  This new interactive event was created to drive awareness of the importance of foundational IP knowledge among the cable workforce, and it is designed to promote the benefits of IP expertise in the cable industry, as well as leverage thought leadership around IPv6 in particular. Read More »

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NCSAM Tip #3: What You Should Consider to be a Secure Password

Passwords are the prevalent means of authentication. Even though there have been many complementary authentication mechanisms and schemes, passwords are used almost everywhere that a user wants to prove that he knows a secret that only he is supposed to know. On the other hand, if someone else can guess that password, along with the username (often easy to find), then he could pretend he is the user and do all sorts of things on his behalf. We have seen multiple examples of corporate executives having their personal email accounts hijacked. We have seen celebrities having their Twitter accounts stolen and posting things they would never do. We also have seen studies that show that a vast majority of users still use standard and pretty easy password to guess.

It is common knowledge that passwords need to be hard to guess; that is a requirement. Andy Balinsky’s post describes some guideliness about choosing numeric passwords (aka for handheld devices). In the same context, David McGrew’s post provides a script that can generate random keys that can be used for pre-shared key authentication. Electronic user passwords are a little different because they involve letters and completely depend on the user (system checks are usually also employed). Users need to be able to chose and remember them in order to use them when needed. But the “hard to guess” and the “easy to remember” requirements don’t go well together and that is the basic challenge.

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Will ‘good enough’ be enough? Take 2

I recently read an article about a “good enough” network. I know this has come up in the past, but this time was in a much different context. Some people might believe that a “good enough” network is enough enough when you are moving data and web servers, but what about when it becomes the lifeline for the power grid? Read More »

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NCSAM Tip #2: Keeping Your Software Up-to-Date

As software manufacturers fix security vulnerabilities they will often release new versions of their software for their users. This is a good thing and aims to protect us from many potential online threats, such as trojans that steal our personal information, or scareware that serves no legitimate purpose. However, it begs the question: How do we users learn of this newer software so that we can be protected?

Like most things, the answer is, of course: it depends. ;)

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Others make promises. We deliver.

It is great when the chief sales guy feels pretty good about the innovation a company delivers enough to blog about it. It gets even better when customers feel good about the innovation and value that a company like Cisco brings, to get up in front of the camera and share the benefits they are deriving.

Such customer confidence comes from trust. In the case of Cisco, we have earned this trust over decades, providing our customers not just with the best networking technology but by providing the right support model, the lowest TCO  and simply the best investment protection in the industry.

This has been borne out many times even as we’ve led numerous industry transitions – from enabling the ubiquity of Ethernet and IP; driving the voice, video and data inflection points, and the more recent trends around data center, virtualization and cloud.

Speaking of inflection points – over the past three years – we are leading perhaps the biggest networking transition in history, as we introduce the Nexus switching and NX-OS platforms into the data center and make it a foundational element for fabric-based infrastructure. In just over three years, we have over 19,000 NX-OS based customers with a sustained #1 market leadership across a variety of categories including revenue and port share. As the chart below depicts, we’re nearly 3X the 10GbE revenue of all our competitors combined! The 10GbE port shipments are equally strong compared to the rest of the industry.

Needless to say, all this has made the job for our competition much harder; to keep up with Cisco’s pace of innovation  has not been an easy task.

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